Battlefield 3's exec producer Patrick Bach has described sandbox games as largely "hardcore, boring, hard to get into and not very popular." Ouch.
The EA man told Edge that his team has demonstrated its ability to create open world games in the past but, logistical problems (and, apparently, a certain development philosophy) have meant that Battlefield 3 will be a much more scripted, linear affair.
"I don't see it as an absolute goal for all games to be sandbox games. We've been building sandbox games for quite some time and we've got pretty good at it, but I don't see that as the only way of building games, because then we wouldn't build campaigns at all," he told Edge.
"In some cases they aren't, but in most cases sandbox games are hardcore, boring, hard to get into and they are not very popular.
"Just the fact that the environment can change dynamically creates a huge challenge for us when it comes to AI," he explained.
"[It] puts a lot of challenges to our AI code when it comes to finding new cover, reacting to the fact that it has disappeared, moving and flanking based on the new situation."
However the gameplay itself turns out, there's no denying that Battlefield 3 looks like an absolute gem. Have a look at the latest gameplay trailer and the many screenshots we nabbed from it for your scrutiny.